Dog Car Sickness: Natural Dog Car Sickness Remedies|How to Prevent Dog Car Sickness
Dog Car Sickness Natural Remedy
Do you have a dog that gets motion sickness when riding in the car? Or maybe you have a puppy that gets car sick. Motion sickness in dogs can vary from a dog excessively drooling, dog vomiting, a panting puppy, whining, restlessness or your dog is fearful of even entering the car.
Why do dogs get car sick?
So let’s talk puppies that get carsick. The first thing is your puppy’s anatomy. Their ear structure is still developing. A puppy’s ear structure is not fully developed and considered immature and can contribute to motion sickness.
In all dogs (and us uprights too), motion affects the vestibular system in the inner ear. The vestibular system contributes to balance and spatial orientation. When this feels out of balance, then it triggers the part of the brain that is in control of vomiting. Hence the dog’s upset stomach.
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Experiences, or lack of experiences. If your dog has only traveled to go to unpleasant events, then going on car rides is not enjoyable. Or, if your dog or puppy did get sick, or vomited during car rides, they will also remember that feeling and potentially not want to go for a ride.
Preventing car sickness in puppies and dogs: The first thing you can do is to acclimate your puppy to his dog car harness or travel crate without the car on. Take your time in these beginning stages so your puppy is comfortable and relaxed in the car harness or crate. This may take a few days or a few weeks depending on your puppy’s reaction.
The second step, secure your puppy in his dog harness or crate and start your car. If you have a second person, this would be ideal, so they can focus on tending to the puppy. Open your car windows a couple of inches to help equalize the air pressure inside the car and keep your car on the cool side. Note: If you are using a dog harness, or your dog can see out the window, you can use car window shades to prevent him from looking out. Looking out the window can cause dogs to become more nauseous.
Take a ride around the block. You can talk soothingly to your puppy to let him know you are there. Or you can have your helper give him tiny, healthy, bite-size organic dog treats. Be careful here, you don’t want to feed your dog too much and chance your dog vomiting.
As the days and small car rides continue and you see your puppy is doing well, you can build the time you drive. Make sure you go on fun outings like the park! Short and sweet dog adventures are the way to go.
Managing dog carsickness can be a bit trickier. Your dog may already have a conditioned response to being afraid of the car and not even want to be close to the car. You will need to take things extra slow & reward for small steps.
I like to work first at walking around the car and giving treats or playing a fun game. The distance will be determined by your dog’s comfort level. If he starts to get stressed or puts on the breaks 5′ from the car, then work 10′ from the car. Your sessions may take days or weeks depending on his anxiety. You will slowly build on this behavior until your dog is secured in his harness or crate and relaxing for 10 minutes.
Once you get to the point where your dog can relax in an unmoving car for 10 minutes, it’s time to start the car. Again, you must be a good judge of your dog’s emotional state. If they are stressed, back up a step or two. Your goal in dog behavior modification is always to work below your dog’s anxiety and slowly build good responses and emotions to small criteria. Once you can have the car on with your dog relaxed, back down the driveway and then right back up again. Your first car ride is over. Again, building over time the distance your car trips are.
Whew, I know it can be exhausting. Your progress will depend on a few factors. Your dog’s starting response to the car and your time commitment in training.
Medications for dog motion sickness and natural alternatives: I always like to add natural and holistic therapies to dog behavior modification programs. These things can increase the rate of success and typically do no harm, so why not?
What Can I Give My Dog for Car Sickness?
- ADAPTIL Spray
- Organic Lavender Oil 1-2 drops placed on the dog collar and/or bedding
- Safe Journey Pet Essences or Homeopet Travel Anxiety For Dogs
- Car window shades
- Organic Ginger 1/2 tsp mixed in canned dog food), or supplement or a ginger cookie or two. Please talk with your veterinarian if you feel you will be adding ginger to your dog’s routine more than a few days a week
- Cocculus 6c 3 pellets 1/2 hour before travel
- The prescription medication Cerenia (maropitant) may help reduce your dog’s chances of vomiting, but may not decrease the feeling of nausea. I don’t usually recommend this product.
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